Commentary

May 10, 2013

CONS: Who we are, what we do

Maj. QUOC-NAM NGUYEN
56th Contracting commander

When people ask me what my job is in the Air Force, I tell them contracting. The typical response is, “You’re a contractor?” Then, I have to explain that I am not a contractor but actually an active-duty Air Force officer who has been given the authority to spend taxpayer dollars in order to keep the mission going. Simply put, the 56th Contracting Squadron hires contractors to assist the 56th Fighter Wing in completing its mission of training fighter pilots. But what is contracting? Let me start with a brief history of acquisitions.

Did you know the first federal procurement law was passed in 1792 that authorized the Treasury Department to make all purchases for the War Department? During the Civil War, failures in the contracting processes to supply a large army caused the first major procurement scandals. As a result, congress passed legislation that required advertising for proposals and competitive bids in 1861.

In 1908, the Wright Brothers received the first contract to build a flying machine. It was not until the Air Corps Act of 1926 was enacted that the War Department was allowed to negotiate with contractors.

World War I and World War II brought major acquisition reforms as the War Department purchased more complex weapons and equipment resulting in the need for the department to “sole source” contracts in order to meet the military’s growing needs. The 1970s saw the Defense Department reforms to combat fraud, waste and abuse when weapon system procurements, such as the C-5A, ballooned in costs.

The passage of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act in 1990 established the Acquisition Corps and standardized qualifications in the contracting career field. In 1991, the 56th CONS was constituted.

Contracting is a mission enabler. The 56th CONS buys equipment, supplies and services to support installation operations. This past year, 56th CONS spent $49.8 million. Take a look around the installation, and you will see what 56th CONS does for you. We contracted for the demolition of facilities, solar panel running lights, “cool roof” technology, recycling/refuse/custodial services and new grass at the base track and softball fields.

Not only do we do all the purchasing, the 56th CONS also manages the government purchase card program. We train and delegate contracting authority to the fighter wing’s 247 GPC cardholders. Without that authority, each unit would not be able to purchase their own supplies.

We should be the first people you call if you are thinking about procuring a commodity or service. We are the fighter wing’s business advisors. You give us the requirement, and we will “make it happen.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Tech. Sgt. Timothy Boyer

Construction plan supports F-35 program

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Boyer An Australian F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter prepares to launch Aug. 25 at Luke Air Force Base. Luke is scheduled to have 144 F-35s by 2024 with 11 countries training pilots and maintainers here...
 
 
frana_g

The Psychology of Leadership

Lt. Col. Gregory Frana When given the opportunity to lead, how do great leaders ensure people want to follow them? In the military it is sometimes the case that followers simply have to follow, but what makes people “want” ...
 
 

Refuse to fear change

Are you afraid of change? Most people are. Every day we experience change in our lives, and we certainly can’t hide from it. We learn and grow from changes; that’s what makes the world go around. With all of the Air Force and day-to-day life changes, learning to deal with change must be one of...
 

 
3_150818-F-LC301-007

Munition flight’s isolation strengthens unit

Senior Airman Christopher Bolling, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight precision guided missiles bay chief, and Eddie Hutton, 56th EMS Munitions Flight crew member, work on an air-to-air missile. The munitions ...
 
 

IN BRIEF

Stand up for vets The 3rd Annual Stand Up For Veterans event is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Glendale Community College Student Union. There will be employment opportunities, social services, legal services, free hair cuts for veterans, free lunch for vets and their families, and more. Vets can apply for healthcare and...
 
 
4_150810-F-LC301-003

Reservist lends hand

Master Sgt. Steven Joubert, 944th Detachment 1, is the first Air Reserve aircrew chief to hold a position within the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit since 2007 when the 944th Fighter Wing underwent changes in the base realignme...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>